A study "Vulnerable Young People and Their Experience of Online Risks",conducted across 2,988 children in UK, between the age group of 10-16 years has highlighted that children who are vulnerable offline face greater risk over the internet than their peers.
For the study, vulnerability was classified into five groups: family, physical disability, special educational needs, communication and a self-reported mental health difficulty; and eighteen online risks and seven reasons for sexting into four categories: contact, conduct, content and cyber scams. The study points that not only do the vulnerability predict the high risks online but also the patterns between each vulnerability and the categories of risk, raising concerns related to the importance of training and capacity building for vulnerable children and need for appropriate interventions.
Children’s use of the Internet and mobile technology is increasing, and for many children worldwide there is no clear distinction between the online and offline world. Access to the Internet presents many opportunities for their education, personal development, self-expression, and interaction with others.